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At All Costs?

It may look like a deal, but calculate the true cost to own first.

This story appears in the July 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Before buying your next business vehicle, check out how much it costs to own and operate. Don't just calculate fuel economy--taking into account the true cost to own, or TCO, is the smartest way to budget transportation over the long run. Ongoing expenses include maintenance, fuel, repairs, insurance, financing, depreciation, and state taxes and/or fees.

Several websites have tools to calculate the TCO for vehicles. The most comprehensive and easiest to navigate is, where the costs of ownership for models in every class of car and truck are listed (you'll need to add your ZIP code). provides a breakdown of major operating costs; the vehicle's true market value price, including options, delivery charges and taxes; and links for comparisons with similar vehicles.

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